Video Camera Training

If you have set up to record a scenic landscape, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
Firstly, check to see if there’s a place in the scene that you could pan from – another part of the scene that could deliver a nice camera move. Pans like this will give you a valuable option in the edit room

You don’t have to use this pan, but you will have a choice and at the same time, gain extended screen time for narration.

Here are two examples. As the shot begins in the trees the shot is only revealed at the last minute.
In addition, you will have the option to dissolve from one location to the next.
Putting it into practice
  1. Make sure that you are balanced and standing in a clear space between the tripod legs
  2. Set your framing, exposure and focus for the end point.
  3. Ensure that you are standing balanced for this end point position
  4. Without changing the position of your feet, just shift you body balance as you pan the camera to the start point
  5. Hit the record button and record a static shot of this starting scene for at least ten seconds
  6. When you are ready, ease the tripod head away from that scene and pan the camera to the end point.
  7. Slow the pan as you reach the end point
  8. Allow the camera to continue recording in this end static position for at least ten seconds to give you another editing option. 
Panning speeds

The speed of the pan should be slow enough for the viewer to take in detail in the scene. To get it right, take in the details yourself as you pan. These in-shot transitions are important for those times when you need to do something a little more interesting. The flow of your story can be created at this shooting stage and so it's best to remember that not everything can be fixed on the computer.

Moving objects

The secret to making smooth professional pans with moving subjects is to be aware of the location of the object relative to the frame as you pan.

The distance between the left edge of the frame and the front or of the object is the space to watch. Make sure that your panning movement keeps pace with the pace of the object - keep that distance fixed. Here are two examples.

It is easy on the eye to watch this jet ski powering through the surf if the ski is “locked” in the same lateral part of the frame during the pan. It looks awkward if the subject drifts in the shot and if you are shooting in Progressive Mode, it’s even more important.

Telephoto - pan and reveal

Here is a way to get beautifully smooth pans using the telephoto lens

  1. Compose the shot then lock the up & down movement of the fluid tripod head (the tilt). Leave the pan lever unlocked.
  2. Instead of using the pan/tilt handle, grip both hands around the collar of the fluid head and use this as a fulcrum to pan the camera.
  3. Using the centre of the tripod as the fulcrum point takes out any bumps making a panning move that is close to perfect. 
  4. You will be able to bring the pan to a nice smooth finish, despite the high magnification of the image. 

© 2013 Pieter de Vries ACS

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